Joshua 11


The Kings of Hazor, Madon, Shimron, and Achshaph, with those

of the mountains, plains, &c., and various chiefs of the

Canaanites and Amorites, confederate against Israel, 1-3.

They pitch their tents at the waters of Merom, 4, 5.

The Lord encourages Joshua, 6.

He attacks and discomfits them, 7, 8.

Houghs all their horses, and burns all their chariots, 9.

Takes and burns several of their cities, 10-13.

The Israelites take the spoils, 14, 15.

An account of the country taken by Joshua, 16-18.

The Gibeonites only make peace with Israel, 19.

All the rest resist and are overcome, 20.

Joshua cuts off the Anakim, 21, 22.

The conquered lands are given to Israel, and the war is

concluded, 23,


Verse 1. Jabin king of Hazor] It is probable that Jabin was the

common name of all the kings of Hazor. That king, by whom the

Israelites were kept in a state of slavery for twenty years, and

who was defeated by Deborah and Barak, was called by this name;

see Jud 4:2, 3, 23. The name signifies

wise or intelligent. The city of Hazor was situated above the

Lake Semechon, in Upper Galilee, according to Josephus, Antiq.

lib. v., c. 6. It was given to the tribe of Naphtali, Jos 19:36,

who it appears did not possess it long; for though it was burnt by

Joshua, Jos 11:11, it is likely that the Canaanites rebuilt it,

and restored the ancient government, as we find a powerful king

there about one hundred and thirty years after the death of

Joshua, Jud 4:1. It is the same that was taken by

Tiglath-pileser, together with Kadesh, to which it is

contiguous; see 2Ki 15:29. It is supposed to have given name to

the Valley or Plain of Hazor or Nasor, situated between it

and Kadesh, where Jonathan and Mattathias defeated the armies of

Demetrius, and slew three thousand of their men, 1Mac 11:63-74.

It was in ancient times the metropolitan city of all that

district, and a number of petty kings or chieftains were subject

to its king, see Jos 11:10; and it is likely that it was those

tributary kings who were summoned to attend the king of Hazor on

this occasion; for Joshua having conquered the southern part of

the promised land, the northern parts seeing themselves exposed

made now a common interest, and, joining with Jabin, endeavoured

to put a stop to the progress of the Israelites. See Calmet.

Jobab king of Madon] This royal city is nowhere else mentioned

in Scripture except in Jos 12:19. The Vatican copy of the

Septuagint reads μαρων, Maron, which, if legitimate, Calmet thinks

may mean Maronia or Merath in Phoenicia, to the north of Mount

Libanus. The Hebrew text reads Meron, Jos 12:20, after

Shimron, which is probably the same with Madon,

Jos 11:19, the word having casually dropped out of the preceding

place into the latter, and the resh and daleth being

interchanged, which might have easily happened from the great

similarity of the letters. Hence Calmet conjectures that it may be

the same place with Meroz, Jud 5:23,

the zain and final nun being interchanged, which they

might easily, as they are so very similar.

King of Shimron] This city is supposed to be the same with

Symira, in Coelosyria, joined to Maron or Marath, by Pliny

and Pomponius Mela. It cannot be Samaria, as that had its name

long after by Omri king of Israel. See 1Ki 16:24.

King of Achshaph] Calmet supposes this to have been the city of

Ecdippe, mentioned by Pliny, Ptolemy, Josephus, and Eusebius.

The latter places it within ten miles of Ptolemais, on the road to

Tyre. It fell to the tribe of Asher. See Jos 19:26.

Verse 2. On the north of the mountains] Or the mountain,

probably Hermon, or some mountain not far from the lake of


And of the plains] That is, the valleys of the above mountains,

which had the sea of Chinneroth or Gennesareth on the south.

Chinneroth] This city is supposed by St. Jerome and several

others since his time, to be the same as was afterwards called

Tiberias. From this city or village the sea of Chinneroth or

Gennesareth probably had its name.

And in the borders of Dor] Calmet supposes this to mean the

champaign country of the higher and lower Galilee, on to the

Mediterranean Sea, and to the village or city of Dor, which was

the farthermost city of Phoenicia. Dor was in the lot of the half

tribe of Manasseh, and was situated on the Mediterranean Sea,

three leagues from Caesarea, and seven from Ptolemais.

Verse 3. The Canaanite on the east, &c.] Those who dwelt on the

borders of Jordan, south of the sea of Tiberias.

On the west] Those were the Phoenicians who dwelt on the coast

of the Mediterranean Sea, from Dor northwards, on the way to Mount


The Hivite under Hermon] Mount Hermon was to the east of Libanus

and the fountains of Jordan; it is the same with Syrion and Baal

Hermon in Scripture.

The land of Mizpeh.] There were several cities of this name: one

in the tribe of Judah, (Jos 15:38;) a

second in the tribe of Benjamin, (Jos 18:26;) a

third beyond Jordan, in the tribe of Gad; and a fourth beyond

Jordan, in the tribe of Manasseh, which is that mentioned in the

text. See Wells's Geography. Calmet supposes this Mizpeh to be the

place where Laban and Jacob made their covenant, and from which

circumstance it took its name. See Ge 31:48, 49.

Verse 4. Much people, even as the sand] This form of speech, by

some called a hyperbole, conveys simply the idea of a vast or

unusual number-a number of which no regular estimate could be

easily formed. Josephus, who seldom finds difficulties in such

cases, and makes no scruple of often speaking without book, tells

us that the allied armies amounted to 300,000 foot 10,000 horse,

and 20,000 chariots of war. Antiq. lib. v., c. 1.

That chariots were frequently used in war, all the records of

antiquity prove; but it is generally supposed that among the

Canaanites they were armed with iron scythes fastened to their

poles and to the naves of their wheels. Terrible things are

spoken of these, and the havoc made by them when furiously driven

among the ranks of infantry. Of what sort the cavalry was, we know

not; but from the account here given we may see what great

advantages these allies possessed over the Israelites, whose

armies consisted of infantry only.

Verse 5. The waters of Merom] Where these waters were,

interpreters are not agreed. Whether they were the waters of the

Lake Semechon, or the waters of Megiddo, mentioned Jud 5:19,

cannot be easily determined. The latter is the more probable


Verse 6. Be not afraid-of them] To meet such a formidable host

so well equipped, in their own country, furnished with all that

was necessary to supply a numerous army, required more than

ordinary encouragement in Joshua's circumstances. This

communication from God was highly necessary, in order to prevent

the people from desponding on the eve of a conflict, in which

their all was at stake.

Verse 7. By the waters of Merom suddenly] Joshua, being apprised

of this grand confederation, lost no time, but marched to meet

them; and before they could have supposed him at hand, fell

suddenly upon them, and put them to the rout.

Verse 8. Great Zidon] If this were the same with the Sidon of

the ancients, it was illustrious long before the Trojan war; and

both it and its inhabitants are frequently mentioned by Homer as

excelling in works of skill and utility, and abounding in



σιδονιων. Iliad, lib. vi., ver. 289.

"There lay the ventures of no vulgar art,

SIDONIAN maids embroidered every part."





Iliad, lib. xxiii., ver. 741.

"A silver urn that full six measures held,

By none in weight or workmanship excell'd;

SIDONIAN artists taught the frame to shine,

Elaborate with artifice divine."



Odyss. xv. 424.

"I am of SIDON, famous for her wealth."

The art of making glass is attributed by Pliny to this city:

SIDON artifex vitri, Hist. Nat. l. v., c. 19.

Misrephoth-maim] Or, Misrephoth of the waters. What this place

was is unknown, but Calmet conjectures it to be the same with

Sarepta, a city of Phoenicia, contiguous to Sidon. The word

signifies the burning of the waters, or inflammation; probably it

was a place noted for its hot springs: this idea seems to have

struck Luther, as he translates it, die warme wasser, the hot


Verse 9. He houghed their horses] The Hebrew word akar,

which we render to hough or hamstring, signifies to wound, cut,

or lop off. It is very likely that it means here, not only an act

by which they were rendered useless, but by which they were

destroyed; as God had purposed that his people should not

possess any cattle of this kind, that a warlike and enterprising

spirit might not be cultivated among them; and that, when obliged

to defend themselves and their country, they might be led to

depend upon God for protection and victory. On the same ground,

God had forbidden the kings of Israel to multiply horses,

De 17:16. See the note there containing the reasons on which

this prohibition was founded.

Burnt their chariots] As these could have been of no use without

the horses.

Verse 10. Took Hazor] See Clarke on Jos 11:1.

Verse 13. The cities that stood still in their strength] The

word tillam, which we translate their strength, and the

margin, their heap, has been understood two ways. 1. As signifying

those cities which had made peace with the Israelites, when

conditions of peace were offered according to the command of the

law; and consequently were not destroyed. Such as the cities of

the Hivites; see Jos 11:19. 2. The cities which were situated

upon hills and mountains, which, when taken, might be retained

with little difficulty. In this sense the place is understood by

the Vulgate, as pointing out the cities quae erant in collibus et

tumulis sitae, "which were situated on hills and eminences." As

the cities of the plain might be easily attacked and carried,

Joshua destroyed them; but as those on mountains, hills, or other

eminences, might be retained with little trouble, prudence would

dictate their preservation, as places of refuge in any

insurrection of the people, or invasion of their adversaries. The

passage in Jeremiah, Jer 30:18,

Jerusalem shall be builded on her own heap, tillah, if

understood as above, conveys an easy and clear sense: Jerusalem

shall be re-established on her OWN HILL.

Verse 14. All the spoil of these cities-Israel took] With the

exception of those things which had been employed for idolatrous

purposes; see De 7:25.

Verse 16. The mountain of Israel, and the valley of the same]

This place has given considerable trouble to commentators; and it

is not easy to assign such a meaning to the place as may appear in

all respects satisfactory. 1. If we consider this verse and the

21st to have been added after the times in which the kingdoms of

Israel and Judah were divided, the difficulty is at once removed.

2. The difficulty will be removed if we consider that mountain and

valley are put here for mountains and valleys, and that these

include all mountains and valleys which were not in the lot that

fell to the tribe of Judah. Or, 3. If by mountain of Israel we

understand Beth-el, where God appeared to Jacob, afterwards called

Israel, and promised him the land of Canaan, a part of the

difficulty will be removed. But the first opinion seems best

founded; for there is incontestable evidence that several notes

have been added to this book since the days of Joshua. See the


Verse 17. From the mount Halak] All the mountainous country that

extends from the south of the land of Canaan towards Seir unto

Baal-gad, which lies at the foot of Mount Libanus or Hermon,

called by some the mountains of Separation, which serve as a limit

between the land of Canaan and that of Seir; see Jos 12:7.

The valley of Lebanon] The whole extent of the plain which is on

the south, and probably north, of Mount Libanus. Calmet

conjectures that Coelesyria is here meant.

Verse 18. Joshua made war a long time] The whole of these

conquests were not effected in one campaign: they probably

required six or seven years. There are some chronological notices

in this book, and in Deuteronomy, by which the exact time may be

nearly ascertained. Caleb was forty years old when he was sent

from Kadesh-barnea by Moses to search out the land, about A.M.

2514; and at the end of this war he was eighty-five years old;

(compare Jos 14:10 with Nu 13:16, and De 1:36;) consequently

the war ended in 2559, which had begun, by the passage of Jordan, on

the tenth day of the first month of the year 2554. From this date

to the end of 2559 we find exactly six years; the first of which

Joshua seems to have employed in the conquest of the south part of

the land of Canaan, and the other five in the conquest of all the

territories situated on the north of that country. See Dodd.

Calmet computes this differently, and allows the term of seven

years for the conquest of the whole land. "Caleb was forty years

old when sent from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land. At the

conclusion of the war he was eighty-five years old, as himself

says, Jos 14:10. From this sum of eighty-five subtract forty, his

age when he went from Kadesh-barnea, and the thirty-eight years

which he spent in the wilderness after his return, and there will

remain the sum of seven years, which was the time spent in the

conquest of the land."

1. By protracting the war the Canaanites had time to repent,

having sufficient opportunity to discern the hand of Jehovah. 2.

Agriculture was carried on, and thus provision was made even for

the support of the conquerors, for had the land been subdued and

wasted at once, tillage must have stopped, and famine would have

ensued. 3. Wild beasts would have multiplied upon them, and the

land have been desolated by their means. 4. Had these conquests

been more rapid the people of Israel would have been less

affected, and less instructed by miracles that had passed in such

quick succession before their eyes; and, as in this case they

would have obtained the dominion with comparatively little

exertion, they might have felt themselves less interested in the

preservation of an inheritance, to obtain which they had been but

at little trouble and little expense. What we labour under the

Divine blessing to acquire we are careful to retain; but what

comes lightly generally goes lightly. God obliged them to put

forth their own strength in this work, and only blessed and

prospered them while they were workers together with him.

See Clarke on Jos 13:6.

Verse 20. It was of the Lord to harden their hearts] They had

sinned against all the light they had received, and God left them

justly to the hardness, obstinacy, and pride of their own hearts;

for as they chose to retain their idolatry, God was determined

that they should be cut off. For as no city made peace with the

Israelites but Gibeon and some others of the Hivites, Jos 11:19,

it became therefore necessary to destroy them; for their refusal

to make peace was the proof that they wilfully persisted in their


Verse 21. Cut off the Anakims-from Hebron, from Debir] This is

evidently a recapitulation of the military operations detailed

Jos 10:36-41.

Destroyed-their cities] That is, those of the Anakims; for from

Jos 11:13 we learn that Joshua preserved certain other cities.

Verse 22. In Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod] The whole race of the

Anakims was extirpated in this war, except those who had taken

refuge in the above cities, which belonged to the Philistines; and

in which some of the descendants of Anak were found even in the

days of David.

Verse 23. So Joshua took the whole land] All the country

described here and in the preceding chapter. Besides the

multitudes that perished in this war, many of the Canaanites took

refuge in the confines of the land, and in the neighbouring

nations. Some suppose that a party of these fugitive Canaanites

made themselves masters of Lower Egypt, and founded a dynasty

there known by the name of the shepherd kings; but it is more

probable that the shepherds occupied Egypt long before the time

that Jacob went thither to sojourn. It is said they founded

Tingris or Tangier, where, according to Procopius, they erected

two white pillars with an inscription in the Phoenician language,

of which this is the translation: WE ARE THE PERSONS WHO HAVE FLED


See Bochart, Phaleg and Canaan, lib. i., c. xxiv., col. 476. Many,

no doubt, settled in different parts of Africa, in Asia Minor, in

Greece, and in the different islands of the AEgean and

Mediterranean Sea: it is supposed also that colonies of this

people were spread over different parts of Germany and Sclavonia,

&c., but their descendants are now so confounded with the nations

of the earth, as no longer to retain their original names, or to

be discernible.

And Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel] He claimed no

peculiar jurisdiction over it; his own family had no peculiar

share of it, and himself only the ruined city of Timnath-serah, in

the tribe of Ephraim, which he was obliged to rebuild. See

Jos 19:49, 50, and see his character at the end of the book.

And the land rested from war.] The whole territory being now

conquered, which God designed the Israelites should possess at

this time.

ACCORDING to the apostle, Heb 4:8, &c.,

Joshua himself was a type of Christ; the promised land, of the

kingdom of heaven, the victories which he gained, of the victory

and triumph of Christ; and the rest he procured for Israel, of the

state of blessedness, at the right hand of God. In this light we

should view the whole history, in order to derive those advantages

from it which, as a portion of the revelation of God, it was

intended to convey. Those who finally reign with Christ are they

who, through his grace, conquer the world, the devil, and the

flesh; for it is only of those who thus overcome that he says,

"They shall sit with me on my throne, as I have overcome, and am

set down with the Father on the Father's throne;" Re 3:21.

Reader, art thou a conqueror?

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